Canada is one of the world’s largest producers of uranium with an estimated 582,500 tonnes of it found in the country. Most people would give mining a bad name. Mining uranium has always been looked down on by environmentalists due to the bad reputation of producing high amount of greenhouse gases. However, researchers from the University of Saskatchewan believe that the amount of greenhouse gases produced from uranium mining and milling is little compared to the total emissions produced by nuclear power generation.
Source: Cameco via Mining
The study states that only a gram of greenhouse gases is produced from mining and milling uranium for every kilowatt-hour of power from the power generated by uranium. According to the author of the paper David Parker from the University of Saskatchewan, “This is the first rigorous look at greenhouse gas emissions from uranium mining and milling in Saskatchewan. And it’s more detailed than the few studies that have been done before.”
If compared to the production of power from coal and natural gas, uranium produces 12 grams of CO2 emissions per kilowatt hour from nuclear power, while coal produces 800 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour and 500 grams from natural gas. This study was presented and published last July 29, 2016. It’s supported by the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation.
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